Restaurant employee retention tips: Increasing engagement & retaining employees during the labor shortage

With new variants of COVID emerging, burnout increasing, and restaurants scrambling to find new employees, it’s safe to say the foodservice industry still faces many challenges.

To make it through, restaurants will need to focus on increasing employee engagement and retention. That means giving employees the resources they need to lessen stress levels, do more with less, and learn while on the job. Even though the challenge seems large, restaurants have several low-cost options that can help. Here are a few of those restaurant employee retention tips that your business can try.

Using technology to boost efficiency & lower stress levels

Employee turnover costs restaurants hundreds or even thousands of dollars per employee. That’s an expense most businesses can’t afford as they fight to get back on their feet.

To avoid those costs, restaurants will need to increase retention by reducing the stress employees feel while on the job. That’s where the automation of small everyday tasks can help.

Because of how time-consuming and essential it is, labeling provides a good place for businesses to automate their operations. If an employee creates 150 to 200 labels by hand per day, they’ll spend about an hour of their day on labeling alone. That’s time they could’ve spent attending to more pressing, stress-inducing concerns.

The DateCodeGenie® automated labeling system from NCCO can help kitchen staff streamline the labeling process by automatically populating prep labels with dates, times, food codes, employee names, and other crucial information. Employees simply select the number of labels they want to be printed, and the DateCodeGenie will produce clear, accurate labels within seconds. For back of house employees with dozens of other tasks to do, accurate, automated labeling means one less aspect of their job to stress over.

And besides prep labels, employees can use the DateCodeGenie to print premade, custom labels for delivery food, retail goods, curbside, and grab-and-go items. According to research firm Black Box Intelligence, increased customer demand for curbside, takeout, delivery, and to-go orders have also contributed to the labor shortage. Seeking to escape the stress of putting these orders together, many back of house employees have requested front of house positions or left foodservice altogether.

So, by automating the creation of delivery and curbside labels, the DateCodeGenie helps reduce the stress employees feel from putting these orders together. Again, employees simply select one of the premade label templates, enter in a few items of information, and the DateCodeGenie prints out the label they need in a fraction of the time it would take to create the same label by hand. And if an order requires a tamper-evident label, no problem—the DateCodeGenie can create these labels too. 

By streamlining the labeling process, the DateCodeGenie helps restaurants experience a cascade of positive effects. In this case, a little time-saving mechanism goes a long way to reduce stress and keep employees on board.

Keeping employees engaged through on-the-job training

Like employees in other professions, foodservice workers value opportunities to gain new skills and knowledge. While much of that learning occurs on the job, professional training courses can help employees scale their knowledge, stay engaged with their work, and foster a deeper sense of loyalty toward their employers.

For restaurants looking to offer credible, effective, and engaging learning opportunities to keep employees on board, Always Food Safe from NCCO provides an affordable option. As an ANSI accredited e-learning provider, Always Food Safe offers food safety training courses that help kitchen staff adhere to safety guidelines that keep customers safe and healthy.

As a pioneer of online video training, Always Food Safe provides an interactive and enjoyable learning experience, helping kitchen staff retain knowledge and pass certification tests with greater ease.

Since they take place entirely online, Always Food Safe courses fit easily into the schedules of kitchen staff who might not necessarily have the time or space to complete training while on the job—especially during a labor shortage.

To connect with the courses and certification your kitchen staff needs to deliver safe food and stay engaged, visit the Always Food Safe website.

And for more solutions to help your business run smoothly as it navigates today’s challenges, feel free to check out our range of everyday foodservice solutions. No matter what the future throws your way—whether it’s a labor shortage or a pandemic—we’re here to help.